Sixty Kwacha maize floor price sends panic

Panic has gripped some farmers in Feni area of Chipata district, following the announcement by FRA, the Food Reserve Agency that it will buy maize at 60 Kwacha per 50 kilogramme bag.

Feni Agricultural Camp Zone Chairperson, Tomaida Ziwa, says that most farmers are shocked, as they never expected the agency to offer such low prices.

Ms. Ziwa says this is the first time in many years that a government agency is offering lower prices than private buyers.

She also questioned the criteria used by the agency to come up with what she described as exploitative prices.

Ms. Ziwa says it would have been better if government maintained last year’s price of 85 Kwacha.

She added that farmers will now be subjected to more poverty as they will be unable to raise enough money for various household needs such as paying school fees for their children.

A 23 year old man acquitted

The Chipata Magistrates Court this morning acquitted a 23 year old man of Chipata Motel, who was charged with one count of being in possession of breaking instruments.

Lottie Phiri, was charged with one count of being in possession of breaking instruments contrary to the laws of Zambia.

Phiri, is alleged to have been found with two iron bars, two machetes, a head sock and pepper spray at his house.

The prosecution called four witnesses while Phiri called one witness when he was put on defense.

One of the witnesses, George Kamboyi, said officers started investigating Phiri after the Anglican Church was robbed last year.

Kamboyi said officers went to search Phiri’s house and found the breaking instruments.

In his defense, Phiri said on August 3rd 2016, seven police officers pepper sprayed him before, apprehending him on suspicion that he had a gun, which he was using in robberies.

He said the officers took him to Chipata Central Police Station, where they beat him up and later went to search his house.

Phiri said the instruments that the officers found at his house were used for construction works at his plot, but denied that he was found with pepper spray and head sock.

In her judgement, Principal Resident Magistrate, Jennifer Bwalya, said there was no sufficient evidence to show that the items were used for breaking into houses, as the police did not try to open any house using the said instruments.

Magistrate Bwalya said prosecution witness number one, two and four did not dispute the accused evidence that he explained to them over the use of the instruments.

She said the state failed to establish a case against the accused and acquitted him.

Phiri was represented by Hibajene Mulunda from LML Chambers and Phanwell Namangala from PNP Advocacy.

Livestock farmers in Chief Maguya face water challenge

Livestock farmers in Khova ward of Chief Maguya’s area in Chipata district, walk about 30 kilometres to access drinking water for their animals.

Chief Maguya of the Ngoni people says lack of dams in the area has been the greatest challenge for livestock farmers.

And the traditional leader says people have continued to drink water from shallow wells, which is a health hazard, because the water is not safe.

He says the declaration of Open Defecation Free, ODF for some villages in the area will be meaningless because they do not have safe drinking water.

He called on government through the local authority to drill more boreholes and construct dams in the area.

Local contractors complain of delayed payment

Local contractors, who constructed the local court in Sairi Chiefdom in Chipata, have complained over non-payment.

Jabesi Zulu one of the affected contractors says that they have not been paid their money since 2012.

He says the contractors have tried making follow ups from the council, but nothing positive has been done.

Mr. Zulu says the response they have been getting from the local authority is that the money for the project under CDF, Constituency Development Fund was used during political campaigns in last year’s general elections.

He said this when Chipata Mayor, Sinoya Mwale held a developmental meeting in the area.

And Chipata Mayor Sinoya Mwale says he will engage relevant authorities to find out why the contractors have not been paid their money.